May 16, 2018 – White Coat Hypertension


Anchor lead: If you only have high blood pressure when you’re in your doctor’s office you may still be at risk, Elizabeth Tracey reports

Many people see their blood pressure go up when it’s measured in the doctor’s office, only to fall again once they’re elsewhere, a phenomenon called ‘white coat hypertension.’ Now a major new study from Spain suggests that even though this blood pressure falls, people may still be at risk for cardiovascular events. Seth Martin, a cardiologist at Johns Hopkins, comments.

Martin: White coat hypertension is when in clinic you get a high blood pressure, these are the folks who on the 24 hour pressure monitor will have normal blood pressures yet it turns out that they’re also at risk so it’s not a benign condition. How we actually treat that from a blood pressure standpoint is tricky, because if the blood pressure is truly normal over time well then, what are we really do about that? Is this a situation that we need to learn how to manage stress better or is this is situation where we actually need to treat the blood pressure directly? :30

Martin says this may be where measuring blood pressures multiple times over 24 hours or at intervals over weeks or months may be helpful, and looks forward to a day soon when an app can help. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.